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Women and Earthquakes: Debunking the Correlation

It seems unfair to always target women for natural disasters when there are other heinous acts occurring in society.
by TNN Editor - 14 Apr, 2023 1657

Mehreen Khalid

On March 21st, at around 9:30 pm, I was lying on the carpet with my younger sister when I suddenly heard a slight opening of the door. I panicked because it wasn't rainy or windy, and no one was visible outside the door. Suddenly, my older sister turned her attention to me and asked if I moved the bed. When I looked at her, we both realized that we were experiencing an earthquake. Without further delay, I picked my younger sister up, and we ran toward the yard.

After the earthquake passed, I said to my older sister, "It was as if the earth wanted to embrace us." She told me it was an earthquake, and that we were fine. However, I felt a strange fear in my heart, and my hands were shaking. I couldn't help but wonder if we would have survived if the earthquake had lasted one more minute.

Sadly, recent earthquakes in Turkey and Syria have caused the loss of more than 40,000 lives, making it a devastating time for those affected.

Also Read: Rural women caught in the grip of climate change

In the aftermath of the earthquake, I received a message on a WhatsApp group from a woman who had sent a letter in the name of Hazrat Aisha. The message claimed that earthquakes occur when women use perfume in front of strangers; when they are not fully clothed, when adultery is common, and when alcohol and music become widespread. Surprisingly, many women applauded the message and agreed with it, while others protested against it.

But is the occurrence of natural disasters really a result of women walking around bare-headed, wearing certain clothing, or having freedom? If so, then why didn't the earth explode when a husband killed his wife, mother-in-law, and sister-in-law in Mansehra? Why didn't stones fall from the sky when a man killed his wife and mother in the Chagharmati area of Mathura, Peshawar? Why didn't an earthquake occur when an innocent child was raped and killed in Bannu? It seems unfair to always target women for natural disasters when there are other heinous acts occurring in society.

How do Earthquakes Occur?

According to the Voice of America, earthquakes occur due to the constant motion of rock layers (plates) inside the earth. When they slip out of place, intense pressure builds up at their edges, causing earthquakes. Tremors from earthquakes can cause damage to objects on the surface of the earth, and if the epicenter is near the ocean floor or coastal areas, hurricanes and tsunamis can occur, causing extensive damage to coastal areas.

We should avoid attributing natural calamities to a particular gender, as it can create hatred and confusion in society. Additionally, we should avoid misusing Islam in such situations. If one wants to give information related to Islam, it should be done by referring to the Qur'an and hadiths.

Mehreen Khalid is a graduate, and also writes blogs on gender and social issues.